Portrait of an Involuntary Hermit

“You’re probably hypersensitive,” my counselor told me two weeks ago.

“But, I just found out several months ago that I’m a severe introvert,” I thought.  “And, I suffer from anxiety and depression.  And, I haven’t regularly been around large amounts of people my own age since, like, college.”

If it wasn’t happening to me, I probably would have rolled my eyes at this seeming hypochondriac and told her to “suck it up and stop victimizing yourself.”  But apparently, that has been on the list of items that I had also defaulted into doing — beating myself up for not being…”better” at the things that came normally to everyone else.

And now, as I sit inside and type this blog entry, I sort through the list of items I have planned today versus the list of items that are actually happening around this big city.

Me:

  • Go for a walk.
  • Wash clothes.
  • Work on work.
  • Go shopping for shoes.
  • Attend a coworker’s promotional party and escape as soon as I can do so unnoticed.

The Big City:

  • DragonCon
  • The Decatur Book Festival (one of the biggest book festivals in the country)
  • College football games
  • Festivals out the yin-yang

Yes, my list is a little bit longer in length, but the difference in impact is astounding.  I browse on Google at the details of the Decatur Book Festival — the booths and the speakers and the clubs — and I know, as someone who wants to make a living as a writer, that I should be involved in all this.  I scan the DragonCon images and tell myself, “You love science fiction and fantasy!  Why are you not trooping downtown?”

Aaaaaand then the anxiety floods in.  Dagnabbit.

It’s one of those moments where you just sit and wonder, what in the world happened in the last ten years to make you into such a recluse?  Having been involved in my taekwondo school for the last eight years, it was easy to be busy there and feel that I was active and actively making a difference.

However, since I’ve taken a sabbatical from TKD to pursue my original loves, I’ve found it very…daunting to turn the next page in my life.  Oh, I want to turn it.  I want to shed every outdated and juvenile part of me and emerge bright as a sparkling new phoenix.

But what is the recipe?  How do I find the path that conciliates me without overwhelming myself?  Do acknowledge the hustle and bustle of the city, yet pick a few items at a time and gently acclimate myself back into my interests at a nice, even pace?  Or do I plow in, 100%, into the heart of 600,000 Labor Day visitors, metaphorically electrocuting my anxiety into maximum overdrive or supreme meltdown?

This requires more pondering.

But it’s also stuffy in my house.  So I think I’ll keep pondering out in the sun.

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